Councilors vote to put middle-school kids on the T

MassLive reports the council voted 7-6 yesterday for a school budget that will force all BPS students in seventh and eighth grades to ride the T to school this fall, or find another way there.

WBUR reports BPS hopes to save $8 million a year by switching from school buses to CharlieCards.

Among those voting for the cost-saving measure: At-large Councilor Steve Murphy, who wants to add $2 million to the police budget for horses and who said if he had to ride the T as a youth, so could today's kids.

Most students in the seventh and eighth grades at the two Latin schools already get student CharlieCards, although they also get a series of special T buses that divert from their regular routes to go to and from the schools, for which BPS pays the T.



    Free tagging: 


    "Or find another way there"

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    How about let them go to school in their fucking neighborhoods. BPS is majority minority, busing is now pointless.

    Why, hello there, angry white guy

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    Even if you somehow went to a system of just neighborhood schools, you'd still need busing of some kind - unless you're suggesting that seventh graders should be walking two miles or so to school (which would be the case in parts of Roslindale or West Roxbury).

    Probably not, because that

    By on

    Probably not, because that term carries an enormous of cultural baggage, and is offensive in ways that "angry white guy" is not.

    Any other flawed equivocations you'd like cleared up?

    Well hello

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    Self-hating aging trust fund baby. I see your rich lawyer daddy who wrote the NY gun control law gave you proper limousine liberal upbringing that hasn't worn off after all those years. Must be nice being able to play around with your fun little website whole day without having to worry about money like the rest of us working stiffs.

    I think it is pretty racist

    By on

    I think it is pretty racist to assume someone is "an angry white guy" on the sole basis that they support neighborhood schools!

    You my friend are the

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    You my friend are the champion D-Bag with a website. Congratulations

    "working stiff" who has time

    By on

    "working stiff" who has time to troll and post comments on blog sites? Adam gets ad revenue from his site (his business), you viewing his site make him a little money perhaps in ad views but make you nothing.
    You caviar conservatives are so angry.


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    2 miles, maybe... maybe 1 mile. And i see no problem with having them walk that distance, after all their the fattest generation ever.


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    they can spell better than you can. Many families (believe it or not) choose a school that is not in their neighborhood due to quality. Those kids need to travel greater distances to get to school, sometimes transferring buses or trains a few times. If you live in a poorer, unsafe neighborhood, that can be a dangerous thing hence the need for yellow buses.

    A man , I know you are the

    By on

    A man , I know you are the boss here , but that wasn't right. Years ago , they would be expected to walk, I , myself , took the MTA from grade 7 on , and survived the experience. The city was a much different place before the busing, an experiment that utterly failed. So maybe , if some people are angry, rightfully so.

    "The city was a much different place"

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    Ya it was, its wasn't full self righteous, know it all yuppie liberals.

    Thats when Boston was still a hard working middle class city. No its full of overpriced condos and Prius's!

    And part of the city

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    Are still full of welfare gang banging thugs, whats you point? Just because someone doesn't agree with you doesn't make them racist. Go pound sand.

    Just to clarify...

    By on

    Is "welfare gang banging thugs" your shorthand for "black people?" Just honestly wondering.

    Not sure about the OP

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    But in my neighborhood "welfare gang banging thugs" is shorthand for "welfare gang banging thugs" and nothing else. We have plenty of black people who are more cultured, educated and successful than many of uhub's wannabe intellectuals, and trust me, no one ever refers to them as "welfare gang banging thugs." On the other hand, someone walking around with the ass of his pants dragging on the ground, cursing loudly and throwing trash on the sidewalk will be labeled a " welfare gang banging thug" regardless of the color of his skin.

    Just curious about OP's usage

    By on

    In the context of the posts, my impression is that WGBT refers pretty directly to Those F***in' N****s from Roxbury Who Came In and Ruined Our F***in' Awesome Neighborhood." Because I don't remember a lot of folks in many "hard working middle class" Boston neighborhoods rolling out the red carpet for black newcomers or visitors as long as they had a college diploma or a nice suit. And despite a well documented history of neighborhood gang activity all across the city (not to mention government assistance) I don't think I've ever heard anyone refer to Whitey and associates or the like as WGBTs. That particular string seems to be reserved exclusively for non-white folks from some other part of town.


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    This isn't the 70s, the only color that matters nowadays is green. As a matter of fact, black newcomer in a nice suit with college diploma would be more welcome than a white newcomer without a nice suit and college diploma.

    Short memory

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    Sherman, set the wayback machine. Some people actually lived through and remembered the awful lawless race riots in racist parts of Boston during the latter part of the sixties. I remember an armed JDL
    mobilized to protect places of worship from racist mobs.

    Growing up in my town, kids

    Growing up in my town, kids within 1.5 miles of school had to walk.

    Given the rates of childhood obesity, I'm not sure that a bit of a walk on either end of the day is such a bad idea. Maybe not two miles, but I think the original post overall was a good idea, because it would probably cut down on some busing.

    But, it brings up a question for me: are kids being bused to fulfill a diversity requirement, or because they want to go to a particular school? Or both?

    Not all students are within

    By on

    Not all students are within walking distance of a BPS school. The odd placement of West Roxbury High, on the Dedham line, is a great example: what percentage of their students live within walking distance (in February) of there?

    I don't know why they closed

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    I don't know why they closed Roslindale High and made that. The old school was walkable, the new one is almost out of the city , beside a dump ,the roads there are convoluted, and interferes with the cemeteries.Besides , most of the kids in WR went to Catholic Memorial or other Brother schools like BC High or Don Bosco. Maybe they could have built a smaller satellite high school back then, but why.

    Beside a dump?

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    The dump has been gone for many years. Take a ride by sometime and see Millennium Park, and the school fields. I don't know how the school interferes with the cemeteries.

    A lot do

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    Go to DD on Spring St, its packed with Westie High kids showing up late for school! IN FEBRUARY>

    How do you want to define neighborhood?

    Had the school committee redefined school districts to combine neighborhoods and end segregation in the 1960s, like many cities (including Cambridge) did, there wouldn't have been any busing.

    But people like you would have been the first to throw tantrums about creating walk zone schools that weren't segregated by neighborhood boundaries that defined racial segregation boundaries.


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    I would like to hear McCarthy's reasoning in particular on this...

    I bet the school bus drivers'

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    I bet the school bus drivers' union is really happy about pulling their wildcat strike last year now.

    Not surprised

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    They've wasted billions on a failed feel-good experiment (i.e. busing kids across town to ensure all schools are uniformly crappy,) and now they have no money left to bus kids to their neighborhood schools.

    Hello, 1985

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    Not all BPS schools are bad. But I suspect you don't have any kids in one.

    If you omitted BLA & BLS

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    Boston would be the worst school system in the state. So ya busing was a complete failure. Look at English High as proof, was one of the best now maybe THE worst. YA FOR BUSING!

    BLS and BLA

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    And Fenway Academy for the Arts and the Quincy School and the Kilmer and the Lyndon and the Eliot and ...

    Again, it's not 1985 anymore. Yes, there are still major issues at BPS, but no, it's not quite the wasteland a lot of people still think it is.

    Was it that great in 1974?

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    I agree that busing was deeply flawed but I don't really think you can blame it for your perception that the schools have declined.

    Perhaps if the voters of Boston....

    ... had not elected a school board that engaged in deliberate segregation and blatant discrimination, the court would not have felt the need for such a drastic remedy. The bottom line is that Boston was as intransigent in its insistence on being allowed to continue its racial dsicrimination as anyplace in the Soutn.


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    As in economic segregation? Isn't that one of the most basic principles of capitalism? You're not going to live in Weston (or Back Bay) if you're poor, and you're not going to live in Brockton (or Roxbury) if you're rich. No one's screaming to bus Brockton/Fall River/Lawrence/etc kids to neighboring rich towns, especially not the folks living in the said rich towns, why do city neighborhoods that are in many cases larger than the towns mentioned have to be any different? In many cases, busing kids from town to town would have been quicker than busing kids across Boston.

    If you think the history of housing and busing...

    By on Boston is all about economics and not about race, then you have some history homework to do. You really think a black family in 1974 could just waltz in to a local bank and get a mortgage the same way a white family could? Or comfortably and safely rent an apartment in Charlestown, Back Bay, South Boston, etc.?


    By on

    Was 40 years ago. Drop it already.

    Why don't you say that

    By on

    to the boo-hoo'ers who are still going on about how fantastic the Boston schools were before busing came along and ruined everything? Waaaaah...


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    as bad as the people who are still trying to justify busing in 2014!

    Boston is a geographically small city

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    by big American cities standards. To give an idea, the City of Atlanta is 130 sq miles in land area (say, roughly, Boston, Brookline, Quincy, Cambridge,Somerville, Chelsea, Newton, Malden, Everette,Revere with room to spare COMBINED), with a population of around 450,000 vs Boston @ around 635,000.) The City of Boston is 48 sq miles in land area. Baltimore, a similar sized city population wise as Boston is 80-odd square miles in land area. The only major U.S. cities comparable in land size as the City of Boston to my knowledge are San Francisco, Miami and Washington D.C (DC about 8 sq. Miles larger than Boston, similar population. S.F. is slightly smaller than Boston.) My point is Boston doesn't exist in a vacuum. Why were all the surrounding metro area cities and towns ignored, while Boston was bashed (still is) as 'racist' with 'segregated' schools?

    Please don't use METCO as a response, it's a joke and the fact it still exist in 2014 shows what a complete disaster and failure 'busing' was. Never mind the fact METCO like so-called affirmative action is a blatantly racist program and policy. Socioeconomic need, not race should be the determinant.

    Good education

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    Kids are getting it - in Brookline, Newton, Weston, etc. What about Boston though? Outside of exam schools that only accept the best of the best and charter schools that are able to boot the troublemakers, are there any schools here where kids are getting a good education? Are you telling me overall quality of education/graduating classes improved after busing was implemented?


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    Charter schools don't automatically boot troublemakers. Troublemakers get less recess as they are worked with by the staff and are much more likely to be held back a grade than at BPS where the goal is to pass off the problem kid to the next grade and hopefully out of the school.

    Yeah, there are some great BPS schools

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    We choose to send our kids to BPS when we could well afford to send them to private school because our school, the William W Henderson Inclusion School is utterly amazing. I have a kindergartener who reads and adds/subtracts like a first grader all because of his fabulous teachers. I could go on and on with details. I also know many other happy BPS families at the Mather, Roger Clapp, Murphy, Lee School, Kilmer, Trotter, Orchard Gardens, Mission Hill, etc. There are problem schools, no doubt and Court Street sometimes frustrates the heck out of me but I'm tired of non-BPS families generalizing all BPS schools. You can't know if you don't have kids in the system.

    Elementary schools

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    Don't count - it's high schools that matter. Aside from BLS/BLA, show me one good non-charter school where majority of the graduating class ends up going to a four year college.

    And before busing?

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    Any stats on college attendance from those high schools, pre-1974? Bet you a box of Enteman's that there are a lot more kids going to college now than there were then and your premise that busing ruined the BPS is a bunch of baloney.

    Apples to oranges

    By on

    Back then, there were plenty of well-paying jobs that did not require a college degree, whereas now you're stuck flipping burgers unless your relative happens to be a union boss. Nowadays, kids don't go to college because many are still reading/writing on third grade level after spending 12 years in the classroom. Quality education, I tell you, quality!


    Nowadays, kids don't go to college because many are still reading/writing on third grade level after spending 12 years in the classroom. Quality education, I tell you, quality!

    Really? Have any evidence of this other than pulling it out of your ano?

    Radio Boston

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    Did anyone catch the Radio Boston segment about this where Michael Curry from the NAACP claimed it was a certainty, not a probability, that a student would get murdered or raped on the bus if this policy was enacted?

    Are there a lot of unreported murders and rapes on the MBTA? I'm not sold that this is a great policy idea for younger kids, but this seemed like grandstanding.

    Is this the same NAACP

    By on

    That sold Donald Sterling an award. They are a very creditable organization.

    Eliminating busing will save $0

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    First - even if you went to all neighborhood schools, the numbers I hear claim you'd only save about half the busing budget anyway. You still need school buses in any district - special needs, small children, some kids will still live far from their schools etc.

    Total savings - maybe $40 million. BUT....

    You need to understand how they build the budget - first thing they do with that money is hire another 500 lower level people - aids, lunch monitors, custodians etc.

    Step two is increase the salaries of teachers and staff faster than the budget increases - scream poverty and gradually eliminate (mostly by attrition) the 500 "new" heads.

    Step three - when the money's all gone - scream poverty and scare parents by telling them they are firing half the school employees.

    Step four - city council calls their bluff and says this is what you get (33-35% of the budget - like clockwork)

    Step five - They figure it out and basically nobody gets fired.

    Not criticizing, calling anyone overpaid or anything - it's just the process they repeat every economic cycle.

    Cap the number of

    By on

    Cap the number of administrators and their compensation relative to the number of teachers. Watch the BPS budget suddenly find itself well into the black.

    Step five

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    I'm still hoping step five happens next year - it hasn't yet. Without getting into your steps 1-4 or the reasons that BPS always cries poor (you and I have been there), I'll just say that as of right now there are plenty of schools losing staff for next year.

    As for the transportation savings, yeah, I agree the savings won't be as big as people suggest. Transportation costs in BPS's original proposal for the FY15 budget were about $108M. Of that, less than $45M was for "controlled choice transportation", which is the only (big) portion of the budget that would be reduced by a switch to neighborhood schools. Would it be reduced to $0? I doubt it. There would be savings, for sure, but I think those potential savings are often overstated.

    Step 5 already happened

    By on

    City council passed the school budget yesterday. Total loss of heads (I believe pretty much/entirely by attrition?) is 68 out of over 8600 (about half the city's employees work for the school system). Lots of moving parts to this - but most of it is because they lost 800 students from 2013 to 2014 when they thought lots more would show up - especially in lower grades. They didn't. I believe even more are expected to leave next year as many new charters plan to open taking hundreds if not thousands more kids out of BPS.

    You're asking the wrong question CK - it's not why are you letting staff go. It's how can you have $150 million more in budget (almost 20% increase) than you did just a few years ago and still be crying poverty? It's not a shortage of money - it's the allocation of resources BPS has a problem with.

    You might also want to see where the tens (hundreds?) of millions in ARRA money went. Personally, I'd start my search for that money on Deer Island.

    I didn't ask a question, actually...

    By on

    ...but in any case, the question you think I'm asking (why are you letting staff go?) and the one you think I should be asking (how can you still be crying poverty?) aren't incompatible. You seem to have me pigeonholed as always asking for more, more, more for BPS, but actually I'm more than willing to agree that a big part of the problem is that BPS doesn't allocate resources well. I think there are other issues affecting the BPS budget, sure, but I'm not at all trying to let BPS off the hook. In fact, one of the biggest problems I have with the FY15 BPS budget is that a $15M increase in total funding translated to just a $5M increase in weighted student funding. That is, the portion of the budget which most directly affects individual school budgets, which is something like 45% of the total budget (that's off the top of my head, sorry if it's not right) was only allocated 33% of the budget increase, despite the fact that the new teacher's contract caused costs within school budgets to increase substantially. Putting aside all of the other details about which we might or might not agree, it's just a bottom line fact that when presented with a modest total budget increase BPS somehow prioritized other things over weighted student funding. In other words, we're not looking at this quite so differently as you think.

    OK, I'll post this here, as

    By on

    OK, I'll post this here, as good a place as any.

    Adam! Would it be feasible to provide readers the option to not render comments from unregistered users? You'd still get ad hits from the anon posters themselves but we'd all not have to wade through their crap.

    Just thinkin' out loud.

    A lot of anons are not liked,

    A lot of anons are not liked, but I'm of the opinion to not set up a system where we build up a wall where it becomes a echo room of only liked opinions.


    By on

    If you can also set thresholds where you can decide what your threshold is for not showing a post, this would be a good system. So if someone gets 20 down votes for (race/bike/neighborhood) trolling, you won't see that comment, but your average post will show up. You can also then choose to see the hidden post by clicking on it anyways.

    You know, I was thinking this

    You know, I was thinking this wasn't a terrible idea until I read this post just above it:

    Having a school bus gives the kids a break from this kind of nonsense. Not to mention getting around by bus, or multiple buses run by the T is not exactly ideal nor pleasant for anyone in many Boston neighborhoods.

    There have been many unpleasant, violent incidents on city buses that have made UHub. I don't see a lot that take place on school buses.

    Pity the kids.


    By on

    of fights on school buses!


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    Come on--did you never ride a school bus? I did and it was anarchic. Fifty kids with one adult vs the same fifty kids dispersed on the T with adults--if I were a timid seventh grader I'd go for the T every time.

    Impact on trains and buses

    By on

    Anyone have thoughts on the impact on trains and buses? At this point the subways are frequently full a few stops after leaving a terminus. Sometimes the Orange line is SRO upon leaving Forest Hills. Will this generate a substantial increase in the number of riders?

    Aren't schools on a different schedule?

    By on

    My daughter's day runs (ran, since yesterday was the last day of school) roughly 7:30 to 2:30, so her "commute" never coincided with your basic rush hour, except when she stayed late for some reason.

    It would probably speed up all travel in the city

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    "BPS provides yellow bus service to 33,000 students on more than 700 school buses every day. We offer service to BPS students, as well as students who attend charter, private and parochial schools. Our fleet drives approximately 26,000 miles per day and we average about 95 percent on-time service."

    700 less buses on the streets would make a huge difference. Not to mention when anyone of these 700 buses stops, all traffic legally must come to a halt.

    I walked a mile to school

    By on

    I walked a mile to school from first to fifth grade. I was taking the T from 6th grade until I graduated. Don't flame me but I am just wondering what the big deal is about someone in middle school taking the T?

    Slight Correction, Adam...

    By on

    The supplementals to BLS and BLA (and other schools) are technically run at the discretion of the T and can be discontinued at any time. Some have been grandfathered in from MTA-era charter agreements (the feds prohibited most charter service in 1976). FTA regulations prohibit or greatly restrict most forms of charter service by transit authorities. Thus, many agencies use the terms "supplemental", "tripper", etc. to avoid confusion/FTA investigation. The supps are included in the annual municipal assessments for all service provided; BPS is not allowed to pay extra, so to speak, for additional buses for its students.

    That said, one of the reasons I have been on the fence about this is that the T doesn't have any more buses to spare during the morning rush; so no more supplemental trips could be added without cutting back service elsewhere. There may be wiggle room in the afternoons, but it remains to be seen if the T will add service then.

    As to the threat of crime, BPD surely notes when and where crimes/calls-for-service occur. Look back at the past year and map out crimes by location and time. Spots that have had higher numbers of incidents during the 6:30AM-8:30AM and 1:30PM-4:30PM time periods should get a bit more priority for beat cops, etc. The Transit Police would have similar data and should use it accordingly.

    Private school middle school kids take the MBTA

    By on

    My soon to be 7th grader will be taking the MBTA to BC High in the fall along with about 300 other middle school kids from as far away as Hanson in the south and Andover in the north. I think taking the T is an education in independence and a wonderful urban experience.